When Is The Vaccine Arriving On Campus? What We Know So Far.

Talk about the vaccine arriving to Saint Anselm College has been swirling on campus, but the vaccine might not be arriving any time soon. According to the COVID-19 support page on Canvas, the college may be getting the vaccine around March. But amid some road bumps in New Hampshire’s vaccine rollout, the likelihood seems slim. 

“I think I’d be surprised if [the vaccine arrives] in March,” said President Favazza. “I would say it’s more likely April or May than March, but we just don’t know. There’s so many unknowns with the vaccine rollout.” 

The estimated timeframe of New Hampshire’s vaccine distribution plan is heavily dependent on vaccine doses that are allocated from the federal government and how many people are vaccinated. 

The state of New Hampshire is currently in Phase 1B of it’s vaccine distribution plan, which includes residents 65 and older and medically vulnerable residents under 65. Phase 2B includes residents aged between 50 and 64 and those living in congregate living settings. The college has been designated as one of those living settings. 

“The state of New Hampshire has told us that we would be a point of distribution, but we would be a private point of distribution which means that we would only give the vaccine to our staff, faculty, and students.” explains Favazza. 

All students will receive the vaccine when it becomes available to the college, including those living off-campus and commuter students said Favazza. 

But while it is unclear when the vaccine will arrive on campus to vaccinate the Saint Anselm Community, the college wants to make clear that anyone who can get the vaccine, should get it. For example, nursing students, the monks living in the monastery, and Director of Health Services Maura Marshall have all been vaccinated. 

“I encourage everyone to get the vaccine whenever they can get it,” said Favazza. “The more that we have folks on campus with [the vaccine], it’s just gonna make sense that our numbers are going to go down,” 

If The Past Is Prologue, Saint Anselm College Is In For Another Rough Semester

The definition of insanity is trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. Some of the current policies at Saint Anselm College are the epitome of that tried failure. 

This past year has tested everyone – literally every person on earth. A pandemic few saw coming has devastated many, including myself. I had the unfortunate circumstance of grief after my grandfather caught the virus and passed away- something still extremely tough for my family. There are no words to fully describe the chaos and misery brought on the human race by this virus. Schools like Saint Anselm College, however, gave us hope by taking the great first step in announcing in-person classes for the fall semester of 2020. This well-received news was going to give students the opportunity to see friends again, learn, and escape isolation. 

Students knew a lot would be different on campus when they moved back in August, but this was only the beginning. A lot was going to be different arriving on campus this past August, as we the students knew that, starting with move-in. Phased-in and spanned out over 2 weeks, students were constrained to just their rooms and could not eat in the dining halls. After the 2 cases were identified during move-in, the campus was Covid free, with most still in compliance. “Following a surveillance phase when the harshest of restrictions were lifted, the same was true, Saint Anselm was COVID free yet again.”. Inter visitation, however, was not reinstated. Students could not travel within their own dorms, which, unlike other schools, are already segregated by gender. With few alternatives of socialization on campus, some left to get quality time with friends. These actions put everyone in jeopardy of catching COVID, which was spotted shortly after. The rest of the semester, we, the students, never got intervis, and cases continued to grow…

As part of the SGA Student Response Task Force, my fellow Anselmians and I put in countless hours to gather student feedback on the semester and offer solutions in an effort headed up by Student Body Vice President Kevin Chrisom. Let me be clear, this was not a bunch of rowdy college kids simply upset they couldn’t go to the bars. Over the months of work, we heard from over 400 students in student-led discussions and polls conducted on social media platforms. We looked at the data and realized being frustrated at the policies was not a minority view. Almost everyone, spanning grade, sex, major- you name it and we spoke to, was unhappy with how the semester had been going. 

In the middle of November, it was announced by pharmaceutical companies Pfizer and Moderna that a vaccine had been created and was over 90% effective and possessed few negative side effects. Once we hit December, thousands had been getting their first dose every day, ramping up to a million doses per day by President Biden’s Inauguration. Anyone over the age of 65 in New Hampshire who wanted a vaccine could get one around this time-  including the Monks of Saint Anselm Abbey. It would only make sense to relax restrictions for the second semester, right? You would be wrong if you thought so. After rolling out a new color phase policy, where restrictions are either loosened or tightened depending on the phase, once again students were led to believe things might be different this semester.

Once again, cases were contained and isolated during move-in, with few cases following for the first two weeks. This is indicative of the Anselmian community- the vast majority of students willing to sacrifice basic freedoms we had last year to create a bubble. What happened when this bubble was created? Nothing. In an email sent out on February 12th, a Friday afternoon, we were informed by President Favazza we would not be moving out of phase orange, a phase that still does not allow for intervis outside of one’s dorm hall. What happened the week after this announcement? A blistering 17 cases, most likely because students realized our lives would not be changing, like the semester before, and were more than willing to leave campus to socialize. I do not condone going out to bars during COVID, but it is beyond understandable considering the lack of incentives to stay on campus. For students, no matter how hard we try, it feels like nothing will change, as nothing has. The administration may feel good about the status quo, but students do not. The real question is, what will be left when the dust settles on this semester? What has really been provided to students? To this day, we still do not know what it takes to move in and out of the phases. We’ve been here a month! Do administrators not remember who they work for? How much longer will students be subjugated to their “family units”? People are beyond done with the lack of transparency, and the brutal restrictions. 

In polls conducted 2 weeks ago by the SAC Student Response Task Force, 52% of students said they had a “negative” overall experience this semester, with 48% saying they were having a positive experience. The same poll was conducted on November 2nd, 2020 with 72% of respondents saying they had a “Positive” experience. That is a 24% swing in the opposite direction. In another poll regarding opinion on restrictions, 89% of students said the restrictions currently in place are “too strict”, with 11% saying they are “too lax”. Both polls combined garnered over 130 student responses. It’s time for this administration to realize the negative effects these policies have on the student body, particularly with both student morale and student mental health (cases of depression and anxiety have spiked country-wide since last March). We all want the same thing- a strong and vibrant Anselmian community. Without that, there is no Saint Anselm College.

COVID-19 Update: An Outbreak Amid New Changes to Saint Anselm College’s COVID Policies and Protocols

As new COVID-19 cases in New Hampshire are tracked to its colleges and universities, Saint Anselm College finds itself included in the upward trend. At the 11th meeting of the Student Senate at the start of the week, President Favazza expressed optimism that the college would be able to enter yellow phase. However, after an uptick in cases, the college will remain in orange phase for the time being.

“We’re up to 20 something [COVID-19 cases this week]. Which we’ve never had, even in the fall semester, we’re gonna stay in orange for now,” said Favazza. “We just got to see some trending in the right direction. We’re not looking for zero positives. We’re looking for small numbers to take some pressure off of our isolation and quarantine space.” 

In reaction to an extreme uptick of cases on their campuses, the University of New Hampshire, Franklin Pierce University, along with others, have gone fully remote in an effort to keep their communities safe. 

On the college’s COVID-19 dashboard, Favazza noted phase red was there for a reason. “If it keeps going up, [phase red] is absolutely on the table,” said Favazza. “I’m hoping that we don’t get there.” 

What’s changed on campus?

After listening to student concerns and an unprecedented fall semester, Saint Anselm College implemented new policies and protocols to try to better address COVID-19. With these changes comes the phase reopening system, increased testing capacity, and efforts for more transparency  between the administration and the student body. 

What has not changed is the college’s need for a “bubble.” The addition of two testing machines has significantly increased the college’s testing capacity. “For move-in testing, we did 400 a day, which is a lot. And then when we repeated to secure the bubble, we did it again,” says Maura Marshall, director of Health Services.

With the increase in testing capacity, the college can more often test students that are higher-risk than others, such as commuters and athletes. With regards to other students that live on campus and do not have to leave for other commitments such as internships or medical appointments, they are tested alphabetically.

“We have certain students that are frequently traveling off-campus, so they go once a week, and then the other ones, we fill in through the alphabet.”

“That’s where people are getting [COVID-19], they’re getting it from off-campus” noted Marshall. “They’re leaving campus frequently, so we want to keep testing them on a regular basis.

In an email to discourage students from leaving campus, Director of Department of Safety and Security, Rob Browne, it was announced that a third-party security firm would be staffed at entry points to campus, during Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings. 

As draconian as the effort sounded, the gates are meant to be a reminder to not leave campus, rather than a real, physical, security checkpoint. “Even though it may feel like it, we are not a prison,” Favazza said, laughing. “We’re not gonna put fences up, spotlights, guard dogs and everything else.” 

Favazza stressed that the risk of leaving campus is not only the possibility of outbreaks on campus, but also spreading COVID-19 to the surrounding area that is not a part of the Saint Anselm community. The rise of COVID-19 cases in NH colleges serves as a reminder that students also have a responsibility to protect others and keep the local community safe as well, said Favazza. 

Favazza Promises Progress for Spring Semester; Changes Prompted by Students

In less than a week, the currently sleepy hilltop will be abustle with students, monks, faculty and administration alike, all striving toward the monolithic goal that lays ahead: finish the spring 2021 semester on time, and on campus.

What the Saint Anselm College community achieved last semester, through the dedication and hard work of many, was impressive. While many other schools and institutions (sorry, SNHU) closed for the semester, Saint Anselm College kept students on campus, and closed out the semester without needing a lockdown or any other drastic measures. The students of Saint Anselm, despite the fatigue, strain, and seemingly endless sources of stress, were happier and better off being on campus. This effort, it should be noted, was an imperfect and an incomplete one.

The Student Response Task Force, under the purview of the Student Government Association, compiled and presented to the administration and student body an in-depth look at the achievements and shortcomings of the school during the fall semester, aimed at the goal of improving the school’s response for the coming semester. In an interview with President Favazza in the week before the student body’s return to campus, Doctor Favazza shed some light on the changes the college is making for the spring.

The President of the College began with noting that he, and the other COVID preparation teams, listened to the student feedback. One of the major criticisms the student body levied at the admin was the lack of transparency in the process of loosening restrictions on campus and “opening up” more normal interactions. Despite weeks of “reviewing intervisitation”, these reviews never produced any change, nor inspired any optimism among students. To combat this, President Favazza described a “phase system” where the college would clearly move from different levels of openness and restrictions. Admitting that last year’s methodology of loosening and tightening restrictions was “pretty vague”, Favazza pledged improvement, saying “We are gonna be very clear about the different phases through the semester. We have identified five phases”.

The president stayed mum on what these particular phases would entail, but was willing to provide insight into potential resources that might be “opened up” in the looser phases. Favazza provided some hope when he detailed what might be some exciting developments for dining on campus: “When we get into moderate activity or lighter restrictions, we are looking to be able to open, at least one day a week, the pub, with limited restrictions…hopefully if it can work, open the grille”.

While he didn’t provide specifics, he also indicated that intervisitation would be revamped for the new semester: “We are looking to add ways where we can make the student experience richer…visitation, moving that to a broader visitation, with lighter restrictions”. While students have heard this before, and might be dubious about these claims, they might be heartened to know that a Student Government proposal to increase intervisitation within buildings was passed through the Student Senate and to the administration before the end of last semester.

Visitation and other social needs are closely tied to what should be remembered as the administration’s biggest struggle of the Fall 2020 semester: student mental health. The college should be commended for keeping the positivity rate low, and being ahead of the curve on rapid testing accessibility, but the scourge of college and COVID-related anxiety, stress, and depression was on full display at the end of the fall semester. In response to this, Favazza detailed some promising changes and programs meant to address this growing issue.

The Anselmian Anchors program, first mentioned in Favazza’s email last week, is a program where college staff and faculty will be assigned to students who test positive or are quarantined as a result of contact tracing: “This is coming out of a recommendation from students, one of the focuses of this is providing more care to those who test positive and to those who quarantine. ‘Case workers’ will be assigned students in quarantine, and will check in on them to see how they are doing. It’s a pretty isolating thing, [quarantine], and it gets to the issue of mental health.”

To further the college’s effort of improving communication with the student body, Favazza also revealed that there will be a COVID-19 resource page on Canvas. This page is to present resources for students who test positive or are in quarantine, make clear the college reopening phases, as well as the metrics they rely upon, and more mental health resources related to the virus.

During our discussion, President Favazza revealed that some (not all) professors indicated to him that they were rethinking the workload they were assigning students. “They, a few faculty have had conversations with me understanding that the workload, perhaps trying to recalibrate this, you have to remind yourself students are taking three or four [other classes]”. Many students throughout the fall semester lamented the apparent dearth of understanding that the administration and many professors had with regards to student mental health, workload, and the unique strain of online learning.

To make in-person learning more attainable, the college has made physical modifications to Poisson and the third floor of Alumni hall. Walls were removed over break to ensure that classes that would have otherwise been hybrid will have the capacity for all the students in the class, thus eliminating the need for synchronous zoom sessions.

If nothing else, students should be assured that the college did not rest on its fall accomplishments this semester. The college has made changes, and claims that many of these changes were made as a result of student advocacy, whether through the Student Task Force or Mental Health Committee, or elsewhere. President Favazza remarked that, unlike last semester where we expected the virulence of the pandemic to increase as time went on, this semester, we are going headfirst into the deep-end.

“I don’t think anyone has any illusions over the first few weeks of the semester, it’s gonna get tough…but it will get better, we will have more options”. Favazza expressed hope for the college as the semester continued, noting that nursing students and eligible faculty would have higher access to the vaccine as time goes on, given current New Hampshire state guidelines. However, the college will be at an advantage this semester when it comes to detecting the virus on campus. The college has tripled its testing capacity, now with three rapid testing machines instead of just one.

The administration has promised, above all else, improvements in communication and transparency for the spring semester. Many of these improvements have come about thanks to the hard work and organization of students, and will be implemented by receptive administrators. If these things don’t end up coming to light, it would not have been for a lack of student advocacy.

The Hilltop beckons us all back to her rolling emerald hillocks and towering umber masonry. We must answer its call and return to our home away from homes, unified in our gratitude for the achievements of last semester, as well as our determination to do better this time. All of us- students, admin, faculty and the monastic community- have a duty to these ends.

Students Advocate For Students: Student Response Task Force Publishes Report To The College

In an email to students sent out on Monday, the Student Government Association announced that the Student Response Task Force (SRTF) had completed its work and had published its findings in a report entitled, “A Report on the Student Response to the College Policies Regarding the COVID-19 Pandemic.” The SRTF was formed in early October under the purview of the SGA by Student Body Vice President Kevin Chrisom. The task force, composed of 12 SGA members, met twice a week through October and November in order to gather student feedback through listening sessions, Instagram polls, and an anonymous submission form in order to then draft their report for the Saint Anselm College administration.

All students were invited to participate in two “Student Listening Sessions” on October 28th and November 4th where students were asked for their opinions on a wide variety of topics related to the college’s COVID policies. Students had a lot to say. The report states that approximately 40 students took the opportunity to make their voices heard, and said things such as, “I have always felt that Saint A’s has supported their students except for this year. It is beyond frustrating to see the school hosting tours and weddings yet I am not even allowed to have my mom or my friends to my apartment for lunch.”

A total of 448 students participated in a series of SRTF sponsored Instagram polls which demonstrated the collective feelings of many students. Out of the 448, 95% of student participants favored extending the hours of the Jean Student Center, and 94% of the respondents also favored some form of intervisitation policy being reinstated. When asked whether or not the college had done enough for student socialization, 74% of respondents said that it had not. Unsurprisingly, 73% of student participants responded that they did not think that online or hybrid classes were as productive as a typical school year. Finally, despite a rather large portion (28%) of students claiming that their experience at Saint Anselm had been negative in the fall semester, 95% of student respondents said that they felt safe on campus.

The SRTF also provided an anonymous feedback submission form for students who were not comfortable attending the listening sessions or providing their feedback in person. 45 students chose this option. Of those students, 9% were from the class of 2021, 33% from the class of 2022, 33% from the class of 2023, and 15% from the class of 2024.

The twenty-two-page report paints a detailed picture of the fall 2020 semester and the effects it had on the students of Saint Anselm College. It highlights some of the measures that students found beneficial such as President Favazza’s Town Halls, a well-designed move-in plan, and quick and effective mitigation of campus outbreaks, as well as some significant areas of student concern. The report lists 27 specific issues that students voiced to the task force, ranging from a lack of enforcement of COVID policies to overbearing course loads. 

Although the student body only recently received the finalized report, the Student Response Task Force met multiple times with President Favazza and Dean of Students Finn to discuss their findings and provide recommendations on how to improve the experience of students in the spring semester. When asked how he would characterize the SRTF’s meetings with Favazza and Finn, SGA Vice President Chrisom said, “I am very appreciative of the level of thought and care both Dean Finn and President Favazza showed to us during our work.” He added, “On a more personal note, I would like to thank both of them for the job they have done throughout the year and look forward to continuing working with them in advocating for the students.”

The publication of the report and its subsequent delivery to the student body marks a major milestone in the task force’s work, and the question now becomes, “Where will they go from here?” When asked, Chrisom said, “There are several avenues to which we could go,” but that the direction of the Task Force will rely largely on the environment and circumstances of the upcoming semester. Chrisom then mentioned that “the task force plans to continue listening sessions and encourages students to continue attending them and voicing their opinions. When the Student Senate reconvenes, the expectation is that many resolutions will be coming up for discussion and for a vote on areas regarding dining services (the reopening of the pub), intervis, etc. The task force was pleased to see students partake in the decision-making process for the upcoming second semester, and will continue to advocate for their involvement.”

President Hosts Town Hall, Urges Community To Stay Calm

President Favazza held a virtual town hall over Zoom this Wednesday night in the wake of a small COVID-19 outbreak on campus. Although not all the questions answered directly related to the outbreak, Favazza did use the forum as an opportunity to continue to project what he has attempted to do since the middle of last March: stay ready, stay calm.

He began the evening’s forum by giving the facts about the outbreak: 8 new positive tests, 4 positives on Tuesday, 4 on Wednesday. All of the cases are among student-athletes, though he was unable to give more information on the cases for purposes of privacy. It is widely believed on campus that the virus made its way onto campus through Dominic Hall and its residents. State health officials and contact tracers are working on site tracing and containing the outbreak. President Favazza made it clear that there is no one “tipping point” the college would have to reach to send students home but also reminded us that some of these factors include the number of positive cases on campus, the density of cases in the Greater Manchester area, and the college’s capacity to test and contain the virus on campus.

President Favazza assured the viewers on Zoom that not only is the campus ready for this troubling event, but that they expected it and saw it as an inevitability. The President claimed that there could be “increased cleaning” as well as changes to the Spagnuolo Gym reservation system. Moreover, he noted that some athletic team meetings and conditioning sessions had been suspended. Beyond that, however, he continued to reinforce that Saint Anselm College would continue to stay the course, and no other major changes will take place, yet.

Some students pushed on this during the question-and-answer part of the evening. Some asked if the possibility of quarantining or testing all of Dominic Hall was in the cards. Favazza did note that there would be increased testing in Dominic, and as far as quarantining the building and whether or not it was a possibility, he said “Certainly. We are not there yet”. 

Throughout the evening, President Favazza answered questions from students who sounded concerned, frightened even, about their health and safety on campus. Favazza continued to tell these students if they aren’t normally contacted for random testing or by contact tracers, then they are at liberty to go to health services and request a test. However, President Favazza cited the college’s testing capacity as one measure of success, and there are concerns that increased student requests for testing would quickly stress that capacity. 

Continued partying and unsafe social practices were also frequent topics of discussion during the 60-minute forum. Students expressed concerns about crowds on the quads and in courtyards. To this, Favazza repeated the phrases, “We can’t be everywhere at once”, and “I would encourage them not to do that” more than once. There won’t be increased observation of student social behavior on campus; such a role is reserved to the student body and Residence Life staff. 

On the topic of RA’s and Residence Life, Favazza recognized the difficulties they have faced this semester with their increased risk and responsibilities. “I know they’re in a tougher role…Try to make it a little bit easier for them” he appealed to the student body. He also noted that if any RA, in the course of doing their job, feels as though they were at risk, they can request a test. There was no further mention of increased PPE supplies or assistance to student Residence Life employees (student employees were given face shields after increased complaints some time ago). 

Continuing on the path and staying the course was the theme of the night, with Favazza trying to project calm preparedness in his remarks. When asked about potential changes the college could make, he accepted some as possibilities, including adding Ben-and-Jerry’s ice cream to Davison Hall but balked at others, including Grill reservations, relaxing intervisitation, and a concrete plan to get student representation on the Board of Trustees. The Board is losing several senior members this year, including the Chair and Vice-Chair, and the administration has stated they want to wait until the legal dispute ends until they begin to add students on the BOT. Not only could this take months or years, but would likely be past the end of the pandemic and this inflection point is where student input is so sorely lacking.

During his remarks, President Favazza took time away from the outbreak on campus and directed his attention toward racial justice. He took his stance on the issue, which was nuanced but well measured. He affirmed unequivocally that “Black Lives Matter”, and called on the student body to recognize that in the history of our nation and society, Black Americans have faced myriad prejudices and disadvantages impeding them on the path to full citizenship. He remarked on his past growing up in Memphis TN, where most of the people he was around were black, and despite being from the same place, he recognized that his experience was different, because of the color of his skin. He called on the school’s duty to face racism “with courage”, but also to avoid depicting law enforcement with “broad and negative strokes”. He asked for “open minds and hearts”, and affirmed his belief that standing with and saying “Black Lives Matter” does not put one against law enforcement. 

The class of 2020 was not to be forgotten this evening, as the President discussed the ongoing dialogue between 2020 graduates and the school to host their commencement in a way where all graduates can celebrate. These talks are still in progress, but Favazza noted the 2020 banner in Davison Hall represented the unfinished business and commitment the school has to the class of 2020.

There were several positive notes on the night: CAB, Health Services Director Maura Marshall, Dining Hall staff, Residence Life staff, custodial staff, and many more were thanked and applauded for their efforts by Favazza. It is paramount that the Saint Anselm College community thank the selfless services of all those trying to make campus safe, and do all that they can to emulate the caring, community-oriented actions of those individuals and groups.

Despite the sometimes cheery mood (glad to know Pres. Favazza is a Patriots fan), the night was dominated by a sense of anxiety. President Favazza did his best to assuage the worst of these fears, but the campus is still tense. Even though Favazza was sure to say that no finger-pointing or blaming should take place, and he is right to do so, it is impossible to deny that students might be walking a bit faster past Dominic Hall this week.

*Since this article was written, 2 more cases of COVID-19 have been reported; 1 on 9/17 and 1 on 9/18. This brings the total number of positive cases on campus in the past week to 10.

Will Saint A’s Look To Tighten Its Belt In The Coming Months?

Liberal arts colleges have been on the defense for years now, with some closing up shop such as Mount Ida college in 2018, as well as Green Mountain College and Southern Vermont College in 2019. The coronavirus crisis has removed students from their dorms and homes, workers from their place of business, and these fragile higher education institutions from the money they desperately need to survive this culling. Saint Anselm College is no different.

Before any further digression, an important note should be made: Saint Anselm College will survive the COVID-19 crisis. A robust history and administration can and will shepherd us through these difficult times, but questions have arose as to whether or not the college will emerge unscathed. Families out of work are having to tighten their belts across the country; it is not absurd to wonder whether an institution dependent on our tuition dollars will have to tighten its belt as well.

For now, the college has expressly stated that the college has no furloughs or layoffs planned, and will be paying all employees as expected through to June 30th. In a letter sent to the Saint Anselm Community, President Favazza detailed some of the impact of the virus that has already befallen the college.

$3.7 million will be returned to students to compensate for remaining room and board costs as well as costs for meal plans. Nearly four million dollars is not a small sum of money to Saint Anselm College (we could have built another Welcome Center with that money, for example). The College’s annual endowment is estimated to be down by 15% this year, and summer programs have been put on hold, with most expecting to be canceled. These programs, combined with various events throughout the year that bring in over $500,000 to the college, have been canceled, meaning that windfall of cash will not reach the college.

Most concerningly, the topic we still have the least amount of information on, along with every other higher education institution in the country, is how will this affect the enrollment of the Class of 2024? As of now, the college actually has higher enrollment than it did this time two years ago, before the record-breaking Class of 2022. The long-lasting residual effects on college enrollment remain yet to be seen.

It is not unlikely that the flow of new enrollments into the college will have an effect on layoffs and furloughs when July arrives. While it is the College’s stated mission to ride out the storm, President Favazza personally commented to the Hilltopper that, “Given all the issues we are facing at this moment, we will have some big financial challenges for next year”.

Although students have had a small say in the academic direction of the college during this time (one vote on a 30+ member committee), the future of the college rests in the hands of the President, the Monastic Community, and the Board of Trustees. Not to say that these institutions don’t have the interests of students in mind, that is their expressed occupation. It is to say, however, that often students know what is best for themselves, and should represent themselves at the highest levels of their decision making. Saint Anselm College doesn’t have this, and the need is more pressing than ever.

Coronavirus Impacts SAC Students Abroad

Just after 10 a.m. today (February 27, 2020), Saint Anselm College President, Joseph Favazza, issued a stark warning to the campus community regarding the spreading threat of the Coronavirus. In an email to students, staff, and faculty, President Favazza said that due to the growing number of Coronavirus cases in northern Italy the decision had been made “to suspend our study-abroad program in Orvieto for this semester, cancel a planned class trip to Rome that was scheduled to depart on Friday, and strongly recommend the return of our three students who are studying this semester in Florence.”

Favazza said that the decision was not an easy one, but explained that “nothing is more important than the health and well-being of our students and faculty.” He also included that the decision had been made in cooperation between his office and multiple other offices across campus, including Health Services, Study Abroad, Finance, Academic Affairs, and Student Affairs. 

To any individual wondering: “how will students complete their classes and receive credit for their work?” the Dean’s Office is in the midst of developing a plan to ensure that students affected by this decision will still be able to complete their courses and receive credit. President Favazza stated that students currently studying in Orvieto will return to campus on March 16, and students studying in Florence will be able to complete their coursework online. 

As was highlighted in the email, Saint Anselm College has international programs throughout the world, but other than the three specifically mentioned locations in Orvieto, Florence, and Rome, no other trips would be impeded. He also mentioned the New Hampshire Department of Public Health is not concerned that students returning from these programs may have been exposed to the virus, and thus they will not go through any isolation procedures. This decision was entirely preventative and made with the well-being of students in mind.

We will continue to provide updates to this article as they become available.